Fascinating animation showing the #polarvortex slamming the USA

From NASA Goddard: Desperately cold weather is now gripping the Midwest and Northern Plains of the United States, as well as interior Canada. The culprit is a familiar one: the polar vortex.

A large area of low pressure and extremely cold air usually swirls over the Arctic, with strong counter-clockwise winds that trap the cold around the Pole. But disturbances in the jet stream and the intrusion of warmer mid-latitude air masses can disturb this polar vortex and make it unstable, sending Arctic air south into middle latitudes.

That has been the case in late January 2019. Forecasters are predicting that air temperatures in parts of the continental United States will drop to their lowest levels since at least 1994, with the potential to break all-time record lows for January 30 and 31. With clear skies, steady winds, and snow cover on the ground, as many as 90 million Americans could experience temperatures at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18° Celsius), according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The map at the top of the page shows air temperatures at 2 meters (around 6.5 feet above the ground) at 09:00 Universal Time (4 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) on January 29, 2019, as represented by the Goddard Earth Observing System Model. GEOS is a global atmospheric model that uses mathematical equations run through a supercomputer to represent physical processes. The animation shows the same model data from January 23-29.

The figures above are not traditional forecasts, but a reanalysis of model input—that is, a representation of atmospheric conditions on those days. Measurements of temperature, moisture, wind speeds and directions, and other conditions are compiled from NASA satellites and other sources, and then added to the model to closely simulate observed reality. Note how some portions of the Arctic are close to the freezing point—significantly warmer than usual for the dark of mid-winter—while masses of cooler air plunge toward the interior of North America.

You can almost feel that cold in this natural-color image above, acquired on January 27, 2019, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Cloud streets and lake-effect snow stretch across the scene, as frigid Arctic winds blew over the Great Lakes.

NWS meteorologists predicted that steady northwest winds (10 to 20 miles per hour) were likely to add to the misery, causing dangerous wind chills below -40°F (-40°C) in portions of 12 states. A wind chill of -20°F can cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes, according to the weather service.

Meteorologists at The Washington Post pointed out that temperatures on January 31, 2019, in the Midwestern U.S. will be likely colder than those on the North Slope of Alaska.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC and MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. Story by Michael Carlowicz.

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January 30, 2019 6:04 pm

Isn’t it just as bad on the other side too?

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Latitude
January 30, 2019 6:15 pm

If you’re thinking of the heat wave in Australia, we’ve had about 3 weeks of higher than usual hot and dry. But other than lack of rain, nothing outside of the norm. No comparison to that polar vortex to be honest.

Ronald Ginzler
Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
January 30, 2019 7:21 pm

I think Latitude was referring to the other side of the North Pole. Yes, in Tiksi, Siberia, it’s -31F.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Ronald Ginzler
January 30, 2019 9:17 pm

Yes, other side of what? Ok that answer makes sense too. Cheers.

Reply to  Ronald Ginzler
January 31, 2019 4:48 am

There must be some misunderstanding here.
The polar vortex extends from the tropopause at 8–11 km in altitude, to the stratopause at around 50–60 km in altitude.
When the polar vortex is strong, there is a single vortex with a jet stream that is “well constrained” near the polar front. When the northern vortex weakens, it separates into two vortices above Canada and Siberia in contrast the Antarctic vortex of the Southern Hemisphere is a single low pressure zone.
When the polar vortex is strong, the mid-latitude Westerlies (winds at the surface level between 30° and 60° latitude from the west) increase in strength and are persistent. When the polar vortex is weak, high pressure zones of the mid latitudes may push poleward, moving the jet stream, and polar weather front equator-ward. The jet stream is seen to “buckle” and deviate south. This rapidly brings cold dry air into contact with the warm, moist air of the mid latitudes, resulting in a rapid and dramatic change of weather known as a “cold snap”.
So it is the weak polar vortex, that eventually splits up and allows polar Jetstream to meander southward.

Reply to  vukcevic
January 31, 2019 5:29 am

Rather than “buckle” prefer the description “loopy” for the jet stream. If you are of the Alarmist persuasion you then note the warmth heading up to the Pole and pish-tush the cold heading south, and snows in the mountains of Mexico.

I have always wondered if the increase of warm air moving up to the Pole is the planet’s way of venting heat from the oceans.

Here in southern New Hampshire it is -6 F (-20 C) this morning. Not all that bad, compared to other winters. I’ve seen it down to -27 F here. The difference is the route the cold air takes, coming south. The current air came south west of the Great Lakes and had to cross those lakes, which are not completely frozen and “warm” the bitter cold air. Our coldest blasts are dubbed “the Montreal Express” and come straight south from the frozen waters of Hudson Bay.

Reply to  vukcevic
January 31, 2019 7:05 am

Not for nothing – but how do these temperatures factor in to the ‘global average temperature’ – or do they not count because this is weather

Philip of Taos
Reply to  Ronald Ginzler
January 31, 2019 10:59 am

We found the missing Arctic ice, it’s in Chicago.

Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
January 31, 2019 6:35 am

“But other than lack of rain”

It actually seems to be raining quite a lot up in Queensland. Might even fill up Lake Eyre again.

Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
February 1, 2019 11:02 am

Facinating thing, 40C in Australia is climate change, -40C in the Midwest is caused by global warming.

Reply to  Latitude
January 30, 2019 7:27 pm

My company’s Australian headquarters were in Melbourne, Australia. Whenever we had visitors from Australia and it was really cold in Detroit, they would point out that there was an heat wave in Melbourne. Has anyone seen a study on corellation between heat waves in Australia and extreme cold in the upper Midwest in the U.S. and Canada.

Reply to  Mohatdebos
January 30, 2019 9:14 pm

Melbourne was pretty cool for summer today. Currently 20.6C and the max today was 21C

Weather for Thursday 31 January
City observations

N 13km/h

Max 40°

Gusty cool change.

0.0mm rain since 9am in Sydney.


S 17km/h

Max 21°

Possible morning shower.

0.0mm rain since 9am in Melbourne.


NE 13km/h

Max 32°

Possible shower.

0.0mm rain since 9am in Brisbane.


ENE 11km/h

Max 38°

Very hot and sunny.

0.0mm rain since 9am in Perth.


SSE 19km/h

Max 25°

Cloud clearing.

0.0mm rain since 9am in Adelaide.


SW 20km/h

Max 18°

Shower or two clearing. Smoke.

0.0mm rain since 9am in Hobart.


W 24km/h

Max 35°

Late cool change.

0.0mm rain since 9am in Canberra.
Canberra observations


WNW 9km/h

Max 30°

Shower or two. Possible storm.

2.6mm rain since 9am in Darwin.

Scott W Bennett
Reply to  tobyglyn
January 30, 2019 11:16 pm

Yeah, well it was 13C here in the Midlands of Tasmania and didn’t get much beyond 17° all day. I know it doesn’t rate a mention but we still consider ourselves Australian here, down under down under! 😉

Reply to  Scott W Bennett
January 30, 2019 11:26 pm

Granny always said ‘never mention the Tasmanian Devils’ (:-))

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Mohatdebos
January 30, 2019 9:19 pm

There does seem to be some equal and opposite action between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. And I’m not just talking about summer and winter. When we have unusual heat, they have unusual cold etc.

Mike From Au
Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
January 30, 2019 11:16 pm

And in victoria Au we have not had many hot nights. We used to get hot days and hot nights. Hot nights have become rare in my southern Au location. Last year was a mild summer and the one before that was even milder.

I have bees and honey production was way down and i had to buy honey. This year it has been warm enough for flowers to produce nectar. A flower can be open and not be producing much nectar when it is cooler. In general bees produce more honey during a reasonably hot summer. This year has been a record for me after having bees for 7 years approximately. I did also improve the hive by introducing an insulated polystyrene hive and suspect the claim of 30% increase in honey production by the poly hive manufacturer are in the ball park.

Perth has been a lot cooler, some say it is like winter over there while all the ho-hah was going on about the heat in some parts of Au. Perth has been unusually getting cooler each year. Many are complaining about their summer this year.

Reply to  Mike From Au
January 31, 2019 3:38 am

it degasses
you might find issues if they chemtest your honey.
better idea is a intake vent hole in bottom to encourage airflow through to top and then a top vent
make em small enough to block in winter
look at OLD beeboxes used here in Vic to see how they managed such high production
red n stringybarks etc in the Swest flowering was poor
flowering gums just starting up in my town but not seeing many bees on it either, havent looked at nectar but reckon it will be low
banksias did well
melaleucas were late then got burnt off around here by that early hot nth windy days
normally i have bees all over the place, this yr very few – couple of native bees around the house plants luckily

Reply to  Mike From Au
January 31, 2019 4:48 am

North Queensland has had a terrific summer, one hot week, all the rest have been cool and mild. 4 weeks left to go and the next 10 days are forecast to still be cool. If this is ‘global warming’, I’d like more. The heavy rain is the only … dampner. Sorry for our buds in North America, keep warm it’ll be a lot warmer on Sunday.

John in Oz
Reply to  Latitude
January 31, 2019 12:31 am

From an interested spectator – if there is a finite amount of energy at any one time in the atmosphere of the Earth, would extreme cold in one area (lack of energy) mean there will be extreme hot (the rest of the energy) somewhere else?

Does this explain the hot weather we are experiencing in Oz at the moment, as asked below (Mohatdebos January 30, 2019 at 7:27 pm)?

Reply to  Latitude
January 31, 2019 2:53 am

“Isn’t it just as bad on the other side too?”


Reply to  Johanus
January 31, 2019 4:22 am

..oops wrong overlay (pressure). Here is the _temperature_ overlay, which has mostly the same visual impact as the pressure:

Geoff Sherrington
January 30, 2019 6:06 pm

Those masses of cold air intruding so graphically – are they cold air pushing warm air out of the way (to where?) or are they cold air making previously warm air that was there, cooler with no more hot air to displace?
Do we see a temperature “wave” moving through relatively stiller air. ot are we seeing mass movement of cold “particles”? Geoff.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
January 30, 2019 9:37 pm

A simplified process has the very cold air being denser than the air it is moving toward. As it flows, it meets less dense warmer air (with more water vapor). The air mass characteristics and the speed of the cold air influence what will happen.
If the differences are great and the movement of the cold air is fast, then the resulting weather can be tumultuous. That does not appear to be the case here at the end of January.
Rather, very cold dry air is moving slowly toward less cold and less dry air.
There is interaction as the surface (warmer) over which the air moves will begin to change the character of the air above it. Meanwhile, the coldest air will tend to stay at the surface, pushing the existing air up, and it cools as it goes up. Without much vapor in this, not much snow is produced.
If the two air masses differ greatly, the push up happens more, that is, with less mixing of the two – that may be happening, but probably there is a good deal of mixing (slowly).

One needs to have temperature profiles (height) over time for a large region to describe what is happening, rather than what we (I) think might be happening.

It does appear there is “lake effect” snow east and south of Buffalo, NY.
Lake Erie (moisture source) was not totally covered with ice as this cold air began moving across. That may change over night.

Perhaps in a short while the NWS will provide a summary.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
January 31, 2019 4:19 am

“… are they cold air pushing warm air out of the way (to where?) or are they cold air making previously warm air that was there, cooler with no more hot air to displace?”

Actually, this fundamental instability of the zonal polar jetstreams is known as a planetary Rossby Wave, caused by the rotation of the Earth. Rossby waves are responsible for a part of the meridional transports of momentum, energy and water vapor and they are thus an integrating part of the global circulation. Important to note that this circulation of the warm and cold air between the tropics and polar regions doesn’t _cause_ the Rossby waves, but is an _effect_ of these waves, which are caused by the rotation of the Earth.

They are _transverse waves_, that is the oscillation is perpendicular to the direction of travel, which is always from west to east. A parcel of air moving east is pushed to the right (southward) by the Coriolis effect, but this instability is offset by the need to conserve vorticity, which acts a restoring effect and eventually pushes the parcel northward again. This cycle repeats forever, creating a series of planetary waves which have always been there.

In a stratified atmosphere (i.e. with layers) the Rossby waves can transmit energy from topologically generated ‘gravity waves’ to the statosphere and even the mesosphere, under certain constraints:

Rossby waves cannot propagate vertically if the mean zonal winds are easterly, or
if they are westerly and exceed a certain speed.
This has important implications for the dynamics of the middle atmosphere (defined as the
stratosphere and mesosphere). In the summer the zonal winds in the middle atmosphere are
easterly, and so energy from topographically forced Rossby waves cannot reach the middle
atmosphere. In the winter, however, the zonal winds in the middle atmosphere are westerly,
allowing Rossby waves to reach the middle atmosphere and deposit energy. This explains the
sudden stratospheric warming episodes (as much as 40-50 K within a few days) observed in
the Northern Hemisphere winter. This phenomenon is not as pronounced in the Southern
Hemisphere because there are not as many topographical features in that hemisphere to
generate topographically forced Rossby waves.


BTW, let us clarify the terminology here. I am not equating “polar vortex” with Rossby waves and their effects. The polar vortex is name given to the permanent rotating low-pressure system (“cyclone”) which exists at both poles. The Rossby waves are a different phenomenon, which happens to cause the polar vortex to break down at its edges and thus helps contribute to planetary atmospheric circulation.

So the media are confusing the issue by not mentioning Rossby waves as the cause of this instrusion, and thus implying that this intrusion of Arctic air into the mid-latitudes is the Polar Vortex per se.

More info here on how Rossby waves effect the polar vortex here:

Doug Coombes
January 30, 2019 6:18 pm

“How polar vortex blasts are tied to global warming”


Basically this says that warming in the north has disrupted atmospheric circulation that used to contain very cold air in the Arctic region in the past. Air masses that are usually located in the Arctic are now much freer to travel south.

Reply to  Doug Coombes
January 30, 2019 7:21 pm

Jennifer Francis does not have a whole lot of support in the climate community for this theory. She shows no causation, only correlation and there is much evidence against it. What caused actual temps to fall to -60F in Minnesota in 1996, or the incredible outbreaks of cold air in 1977, 1983 and 1985? Or how about the 1936 outbreak that produced -60F in North Dakota or better yet, how about the “grandaddy of all cold waves” in 1899 when temps fell to below zero all the way into north Florida? It has never been colder in many locations than during that outbreak in the month of February. The atmospheric circulations responsible for the polar vortex to drop far south have always existed. Global warming has nothing to do with it.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  cjames
January 31, 2019 1:58 am

what cjames said.

Francis has a hypothesis. folks should wait a while for the rest of the science community to weigh in on her ideas. give it a few years.

This won’t stop the MSM from jumping on the idea.

best response is that this view is not yet a consensus view, yet

Like Vinter with his snow predictions and others with their arctic ice “predictions” it is
best to withold judgment until more folks try to poke holes in the hypothesis

M Courtney
Reply to  Steven Mosher
January 31, 2019 4:18 am

The Guardian is already reporting that the cold snap is caused by Global Warming.

Specifically that the jet stream is weakening (presumably as temperature differentials fall) and that disrupts the polar vortex.

And also that less ice means more heat absorbed by the darker sea in the summer which is released in the winter when the sun doesn’t shine.

Ian W
Reply to  M Courtney
January 31, 2019 5:59 am

According to the Guardian like all warmists – everything is caused by global warming or its latest ambiguous euphemism ‘climate’. And of course ‘climate’ is caused by ‘carbon’. These loose terms are being used not only by reporters who perhaps have an excuse but also by climate ‘scientists’ who don’t.
It is beginning to look like ‘Media Studies’ is more of a STEM subject than climate ‘science’.

Reply to  Doug Coombes
January 31, 2019 3:20 am

Jörg | kachelmannwetter.com
‏Verifizierter Account @Kachelmann
14 Std.vor 14 Stunden
Hi – GermanTV @heutejournal by @ZDF says that @NOAA saif that polar vortex split is due to climate change? Can you confirm this? It can be true or not since the channel has a long history of making up stories about weather/climate. Thanks.
Ryan Maue
‏Verifizierter Account
Antwort an @Kachelmann @heutejournal und
We have observed polar vortex splits for decades. They are not new nor caused by climate change.
The links to climate change are still controversial & uncertain because climate models do not show an increase.
Active area of research. No consensus.


Based on news of German TV “ZDF” yesterday evening

Reply to  Doug Coombes
January 31, 2019 5:43 am

“warming in the north has disrupted atmospheric circulation that used to contain very cold air in the Arctic region in the past. Air masses that are usually located in the Arctic are now much freer to travel south.”

The basic motion of these arctic air masses is completely explained in terms of planetary Rossby waves (see my post above: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/30/fascinating-animation-showing-the-polarvortex-slamming-the-usa/#comment-2610651)

There are of course periodic variations of this wave phenomenon, which are connected to well-known oscillations like the the Arctic Oscillation. I believe these are natural oscillations, not necessarily tied to any human activity, i.e. not another “hockey stick” caused by the Devil (“Man-made CO2”)

January 30, 2019 6:19 pm

Note how some portions of the Arctic are close to the freezing point—significantly warmer than usual for the dark of mid-winter …

And yet the Arctic as a whole, which has been running warm, at this time of year, this century, is just about smack on normal. link

R Shearer
Reply to  commieBob
January 30, 2019 6:28 pm

Some people say that global warming drives these extremes. The real extremes are more like a mile thick sheet of ice on much of North America on one extreme, and no ice but rather palm trees and alligators in Greenland on the other end.

I’d say we are closer to normal also.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  commieBob
January 30, 2019 8:24 pm

It really doesn’t look like too much warm air is infilling behind the split vortex this time and the data backs it up.

Reply to  Robert W. Turner
January 31, 2019 2:31 am

Here is a good way to see how surface winds tie in with temp changes, …https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=temp/orthographic=-49.03,71.14,672/loc=-40.160,70.041

Note that the warmer surface wind flow which can be seen entering into the arctic region on the Atlantic side just started up today. I have daily pics on this. Prior to this shift which just took place there were no warm surface winds entering into the Arctic which then pushed cold air south.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Robert W. Turner
January 31, 2019 7:34 am

That’s not false color it’s just a bad color scale.

Jimmy Haigh
January 30, 2019 6:20 pm

It’s like a pump.

January 30, 2019 6:24 pm

Just curious: the natural-color image from Teris shows slanted stripes in Lake Michigan, which I think might be “real”, but the extent into Michigan State. My Question: are these “real”, or are they imaging artifacts?

Reply to  NeedleFactory
January 30, 2019 6:25 pm

“they extend”

Reply to  NeedleFactory
January 30, 2019 6:48 pm

The lines are lake effect snow bands. The very cold air rushing across the unfrozen Lake Michigan picks up moisture and then proceeds to dump the moisture on the land. I lived in Michigan for 45 years, in one of those “favored snowband” areas…….it can pile up in a hurry, and be clear and sunny 10 miles away.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Harold
January 31, 2019 2:00 am


western michigan, here

January 30, 2019 6:28 pm

I’m starting to understand why Mikey Mann was so mesmerized by those colored graphs….Science as pretty animation…..No wonder fantasy sells so well and people are so easily led astray.

January 30, 2019 6:34 pm

Now THAT’S the weather map I’ve been predicting! I think the way to cure people of Global Warming Hysteria Syndrome is to freeze the bejaysus out of them – essentially get them to cool off, emotionally AND physically. It is impossible to say “global warming” when your teeth are chattering so hard it sounds like a jackhammer inside your head.

Below is the history of my “cold Curse” that I called down upon the Northeast USA and eastern Canada back in November. The Dept. of Homeland Security should understand that I really don’t create the weather, I just hang out with very competent weather forecasters.

Joe d’Aleo and I did this once before, prior to the brutal NE winter of 2014-15, We contacted the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which used Joe’s detailed Winter forecast to revise their total winter energy demand upwards by 11%. Joe turned out to be correct, and we may have prevented considerable suffering. That is a huge amount of energy.

More at

January 30, 2019 8:00 pm

At the very least, there should be a lot of people thinking a warmer world isn’t such a bad idea.

Reply to  jtom
January 30, 2019 8:34 pm

by Joseph d’Aleo and Allan MacRae, September 4, 2015

Globally, there are about 2 million Excess Winter Deaths per year – that is the number of deaths that occur in the four winter months (December through March in the NH) minus the number of deaths that occur in equivalent non-winter seasons. About 100,000 Excess Winter Deaths occur annually in the USA, equivalent to about two-9-11’s per week for 17 weeks every year. Colder Canada typically experiences about 5000 to 10,000 Excess Winter Deaths per year. More than 50,000 Excess Winter Deaths occurred in England and Wales last winter (2017-2018) – an Excess Winter Death rate more than 2.5 times the per-capita average rate of the USA, and 2.5 to 5 times the per capita rate in Canada.

Even in warm climates like Thailand and Brazil, there is a significant Excess Winter Death rate, but it is typically lower than in colder countries.

The data suggests that Earth is significantly colder-than-optimum for human longevity. Other factors, such as energy pricing and the quality of housing insulation and heating systems are also important to reduce winter mortality.

January 31, 2019 3:10 am

This is the cold weather that we predicted in mid-November – it is only satisfying because the prediction was correct.

Cool and cold weather kills 20 times more people than hot and warm weather. Not satisfying.


January 31, 2019 4:28 am

It’s forecast to hit near 50F in Casper by Friday. The cold simply does not last for any length of time. It’s been a very WARM winter with little snow, regardless of what maps say.

Reply to  Sheri
January 31, 2019 8:07 am

Update: Latest forecast is for 59F!!!

Reply to  Sheri
January 31, 2019 9:59 am

Hi Sheri – it’s been a mild Winter in the West, but much colder in the East.

You don’t seriously think I’d call down a brutal winter on the West, do you? I live here!

Best, Allan 🙂

January 30, 2019 7:13 pm

So….. We have Winter in the Northern Hemisphere and Summer in the Southern Hemisphere?

Damn….. This Global Warming is just so radical.

Joel O'Bryan
January 30, 2019 7:20 pm


January 30, 2019 7:26 pm

I am indeed freezing my tootsies off but at least there is very little snow associated with the cold air. In north west Michigan, where my extended family lives, they have gotten about 20 inches (50 cm) out of this cold shot. One more day to go with tonight the coldest night. Then back the other way for warmer than normal and then back to cold.

My wife wants to know where that damned global warming is they have been promising.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Pierre
January 30, 2019 11:51 pm

Tell her the clue is in the “G” part of GW.
IE: Regional spells of cold still happen.

Reply to  Anthony Banton
January 31, 2019 6:09 am

You tell her that, you will find out that you are wrong.

Eric Von Salzen
January 30, 2019 7:44 pm

So we’re sure, really SURE, that we’re not going into a new Ice Age — or even a new Little Ice Age — right?


NZ Willy
Reply to  Eric Von Salzen
January 30, 2019 11:04 pm

Yes, climate scientists have zero understanding about how the ice ages happened, but they claim to know the future. Therefore their predictions can be overtaken by a fresh new ice age at any time. Who will say no?

January 30, 2019 7:51 pm

So why didn’t the climate “models” predict extreme cold?

Reply to  markl
January 30, 2019 8:16 pm

Because they are climate models.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 30, 2019 10:19 pm

and climate models only project heat – not cold.
Not that I am saying climate models are wrong.
It is just unfortunate that the climate models happen to have the past WRONG and it is highly, highly probable that they also have the future WRONG.
In conclusion, climate models are WRONG – just like Nick Stokes.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 30, 2019 11:13 pm

The duck there from Nick is they don’t predict anything specific they predict how the average condition changes at a local level they are next to useless.

I challenged Nick to give the predictive time validity of any climate model which he ducked as well. The reason is a little dark secret of climate science which goes like this and I quote, “the world can’t afford to wait decades to measure the accuracy of climate model predictions, so they test the model’s accuracy using past events”.

However they are 97% certain of the model predictions you just have to do a stokes defense on what the prediction is 🙂

NZ Willy
Reply to  LdB
January 31, 2019 1:41 am

Horse race handicapping uses the same computerized method, use the past to predict the future, but none show a profit.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 31, 2019 8:58 am

Thanks, Nick – always good to see your name here. But perhaps add for the benefit of some readers ‘…rather than weather forecasts.’

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  markl
January 30, 2019 9:58 pm

Oh they did.
They just discarded, to never see the light of day, those output runs that went Ice Ball Earth.

If they need to in about 10 years, they can just re-run the models with a few not-unreasonable hand tweaks to the parameter set to get the 1975 Global Cooling Scare up and running again, 2035 edition.

Greg Cavanagh
January 30, 2019 9:30 pm

Windy has cams on the bottom right. Very interesting indeed.

Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
January 31, 2019 9:10 am

I call BS on the temperature map (at least for Tulsa). Currently about freezing and the map has up in the 50-60s.

January 30, 2019 9:32 pm

Rottnest Island, just 20km off the coast from Perth Western Australia, temperature at 1:00 pm it’s sunny as usual and just 28.3C. In mid-summer, that’s positively balmy.

Jeol O'Bryan
Reply to  Ubique
January 30, 2019 10:02 pm

Tucson Arizona today was a very pleasant 73 F (23 C) at sunset. Took the dogs on a nice walk-about up a dry creekbed. They played and played, then I watched a gorgeous blazing red-orange sunset spectacle at the end of the walk.

January 30, 2019 10:24 pm


also canada, but who cares?

Mike Maguire
January 30, 2019 10:33 pm

Sudden Stratospheric Warming to likely cause Polar Vortex disruption; What it means for us


Reply to  Mike Maguire
January 31, 2019 2:40 am

If the SSW caused this, then wouldn’t there be a record of SSW events every time there is a polar outbreak? Where is that data? How does something that occurs in one small area at the top of the atmosphere cause disruption all the way down to the surface? How does an event that ended on the 10th of this month cause a polar outbreak 18 days later?

Ian W
Reply to  goldminor
January 31, 2019 6:34 am

There are records and reanalyses. For example:

One explanation is that latitudinal jet streams get an orographic uplift from terrain such as the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau and momentum carries them through the tropopause into the stratosphere where they form waves that break causing disruption to the stratopheric polar vortex. The effect can be to split the vortex and cause a reversal of the polar jetstream, this all takes time – longer than one would expect.

They are fully described in the literature.

January 30, 2019 10:44 pm

troe January 30, 2019 at 10:24 am
“When the body was first created, all the parts wanted to be Boss. The brain said, “I should be Boss because I control all of the body’s responses and functions.”

The feet said, “We should be Boss since we carry the brain about and get him to where he wants to go.”

The hands said, “We should be the Boss because we do all the work and earn all the money.”

Finally, the azzhole spoke up. All the parts laughed at the idea of the azzhole being the Boss. So, the azzhole went on strike, blocked itself up and refused to work.

Within a short time, the eyes became crossed, the hands clenched, the feet twitched, the heart and lungs began to panic, and the brain fevered. Eventually, they all decided that the azzhole should be the Boss, so the motion was passed. All the other parts did all the work while the Boss just sat and passed out the sh&$!”

This seems appropriate to the idea of AMS setting public policy

Alasdair January 30, 2019 at 10:56 am

January 30, 2019 11:07 pm

High pressure in the Midwest.
comment image
In satellite imagery, Stratospheric Intrusions are identified by very low moisture levels in the water vapor channels (6.2, 6.5, and 6.9 micron). Along with the dry air, Stratospheric Intrusions bring high amounts of ozone into the tropospheric column and possibly near the surface. This may be harmful to some people with breathing impairments. Stratospheric Intrusions are more common in the winter/spring months and are more frequent during La Nina periods. Frequent or sustained occurances of Stratospheric Intrusions may decrease the air quality enough to exceed EPA guidelines.
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January 30, 2019 11:16 pm

The current polar vortex pattern in the lower stratosphere.
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The current polar vortex pattern in the central stratosphere.
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January 31, 2019 12:12 am

Temperatures similar to this week have happened before, in fact several times. Obviously it’s unusual for temps to drop this low but it’s not unprecedented.

Reminds me of the saying “What has happened can happen”. You don’t need to blame global warming it’s just weather.

January 31, 2019 12:27 am

It is somewhat irritating to see the global warming agitators pretending this extreme cold snap is “to be expected in a warming world” – some of them even manage to keep a straight face. It’s certainly not helping their cause, though…

M Courtney
Reply to  Dreadnought
January 31, 2019 5:44 am

Global Warming predicts all kinds of weather 100% correctly every time.
After the event.

January 31, 2019 1:56 am

There will be no wind or solar over the Great Lakes for the next two days. So I have been urging Greens to switch of their electricity and heating systems, because I would hate for them to become hypocrites, and be using eviI fossil fuel energy.

But no takes so far – it looks like they orefer being hypocrites…..


Reply to  ralfellis
January 31, 2019 2:46 am

I heard that a few towns back in the cold areas are close to running out of natural gas/propane. A major supplier issued a warning to customers to not use to much gas as supplies are very thin right now. That would have to scare the pee out of families living in the danger zones. They suggest not turning the heat up too much.

January 31, 2019 2:01 am

” But disturbances in the jet stream and the intrusion of warmer mid-latitude air masses can disturb this polar vortex and make it unstable,”

And why is it not an excess of very cold air that makes the jet stream unstable? Cold air is much ‘heavier’ so would like a glacier (or like a pyroclastic cloud) flood the less dense areas.

Reply to  Robertvd
January 31, 2019 2:25 am

Robert Palmer – Some like it hot

Wim Röst
January 31, 2019 2:11 am

The animation shows that when the Earth is at its coolest moment, Eurasia, the Arctic and North America start to behave as ONE system.

Atmospheric behavior must be quite different when glacial times near. Resulting in an overall cooling pattern for the Earth as a whole. The lack of our main greenhouse gas water vapor will play an important – if not decisive role – in the cooling of the Earth.

The change in atmospheric behavior has to be added to the diminishing insolation as obliquity diminishes summer warming over the Northern Hemisphere. Cooling oceans also will play their role.

Ian W
Reply to  Wim Röst
January 31, 2019 7:15 am

You may well be right – but if you compare the still graphic at the header post with the graphic of the Laurentide Ice Sheet for example…

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They have a startling similarity.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Ian W
January 31, 2019 8:45 am

Indeed, the similarity is well visible. But what struck me most is that the more normal atmospheric ’round trip around the Arctic’ changed to a more extended ‘two-way road’ between Eurasia and North America. Also for a longer period (ten days): see https://climatereanalyzer.org/wx/fcst/#gfs.arc-lea.t2 (use the slide).

January 31, 2019 2:37 am

It appears that fires are due to climate change and cold snaps to vortexes.

January 31, 2019 3:21 am

The current temperature (C) in the northeast of the US.
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Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
January 31, 2019 3:28 am

Here in Northern Virginia (Manassas), it is 6:22 am, and 7 F (-13.9 C). It’s the coldest I can recall in this neck of the woods in all of my experience here.

January 31, 2019 3:39 am

Current temperature anomalies (C) in North America.
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January 31, 2019 4:03 am

Reason for Polar Vortex Split = Climatechange
Reason for Pole Walk = Climatechange
Whats about Pole Shift, climatechage too ?

Climate change pushes the North Pole to the East
The continental drift has always moved the North Pole to the south. That has changed. US researchers have found that climate change is a new driving force – the North Pole has changed direction and is now heading east. Climate change causes the geographic North Pole to roam the Arctic. This amazing finding was won by a research group led by geophysicist Jianli Chen of the University of Texas, Austin, using measurements of the Earth’s gravitational field through the satellite “Grace” of the US Space Agency Nasa. This pole walk has been known for a long time. Their cause lies in the particular shape of the earth.

Source, translation by google-translate

January 31, 2019 4:05 am
Reply to  Krishna Gans
January 31, 2019 4:17 am

We have a minimum solar activity and no El Niño.

Reply to  ren
January 31, 2019 5:59 am

It’s to read in context with my comment here

January 31, 2019 4:50 am

Arctic mass drops south, warm air from the south takes it’s place in the long winter night…radiates heat into deep space…looks like a big heat pump to me…if this cycle repeats often enough…we’ll be back to snowball earth…the solar minimum theory may hold water.

January 31, 2019 4:53 am

This is not unusual. I’ve seen and lived through this before. Every so many years we get these extreme low temperatures for a few days in the middle of winter…. 2014… 2009…. 1994…1991… before this, I didn’t keep track.

It’s too bad for the pro climate change people that a couple degree rise in the average earths temperature is not climate changing.

Here in the upper mid-west, we live through a temperature swing of well over 100° every 6 months and those darn mosquito’s just won’t die. What is 2°? Nothing. That is NOT climate changing. It’s the same ole spring, summer, fall and winter as always.

January 31, 2019 5:00 am

The “polar vortex” appellation denotes that something is different about North American winter weather, presumably caused by ‘climate change’ (whatever that means). There isn’t. Polar air masses moving south in winter has been happening my entire life (70 years).

Michael Kelly, I saw -10 F in Chesterfield County VA in mid-80s. January 1977 it didn’t get above freezing for the entire month.

Reply to  Gamecock
January 31, 2019 5:17 am

Emperor’s new clothes … the art of making nothing look like something.

Dr Deanster
January 31, 2019 5:43 am

I think this is just the system working as it does. The arctic is taking a big bite out of the warmer air in mid Lars, moving it to the pole where the heat will rapidly dissipate into space.

Wonder what the energy emission spectrum out to space is looking like right about now.

Reply to  Dr Deanster
January 31, 2019 6:18 am

Exactly. Without these excursions of cold air south and warm air north, the artic would get colder and colder with no sun in winter. This “polar vortex” is just the natural, but somewhat intermittent, movement of heat from equator to poles. Not be, and not a global warming issue.

Dave O.
January 31, 2019 6:22 am

Warmist narrative: Cold weather in the winter is a recent phenomenon and can only be explained by the polar vortex and global warming.

Tom Kennedy
January 31, 2019 7:07 am

The scientists that claim this particular event is linked to global warming are either witch doctors or more likely “Cargo Cult Scientists” (See Feynman). This event is what was called in the 50’s and 60’s a “Cold Snap”. Now that we have satellite imagery and billions of dollars for global warming research, some so called scientists, are correlating every weather event cause to be global warming or climate change. Cargo Cult journalists then spread the word.

January 31, 2019 7:19 am

CBC’s Mortillaro and Wagstaffe are using the same image for their propaganda:

The fact is, it’s climate change, or global warming, that’s behind this extreme cold.
Ever since the bitter winter of 2014, a new winter-weather catchphrase has been making the rounds: polar vortex.
The polar vortex is nothing new. It’s just that it typically encircles the north pole. However, in recent years, it seems to be meandering southward every so often.
“This air mass always exists, and it often gets bumped and pushed around. In this case, the jet stream pushed it all the way down to the U.S. Midwest,” said CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. (…)
That’s what happened this week: the jet stream managed to split the descending polar vortex into three.

Yet the polar vortex cold air… is

A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found the Arctic is warming two to three times faster than anywhere else on Earth. This temperature difference upsets the stability of the jet stream.

So according to these two geniuses, the warm polar air is getting colder as it gets southward…
The rest:

In the past, the jet stream moved fairly smoothly around the northern hemisphere. But recently, it’s developed more pronounced kinks that can bring cold, Arctic air much farther south than in the past, or bring heat from the Gulf of Mexico further north than has been typical.

is beyond as demonstrated by checking this site http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/jetstream.html where we can see that the jets are meandering more in boreal winter despite being faster than their austral counterparts.
These two would be well inspired to read https://hacenearezkifr.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/leroux-1993c.pdf
The CBC is a disgrace.

Reply to  TomRude
January 31, 2019 7:31 am

Notwithstanding that we should ask these two luminaries how they think weather linked to the onset of a glaciation looks like…

Reply to  TomRude
January 31, 2019 8:03 am

These is a Dr. Indrani Roy and there ist further professor Mike Lockwood finding natural reasons for these phenomena, existing longer than human industries 😀

Reply to  Krishna Gans
January 31, 2019 8:14 am

Sorry, link error for Dr. Indrani Roy

Gordon Dressler
January 31, 2019 7:28 am

So, we finally have a very simple explanation for why Earth experiences glacial and interglacial periods. Clearly, the polar vortex has been shown capable of bringing freezing cold as far south as the extent of glaciers (thousands of feet of solid ice) in North America during the last glacial period of the current Ice Age.

There obviously must be a “trigger mechanism” (still working to explain that, wink) that causes the “polar vortex instabilities” to be sustained for tens of thousands of years.

This theory overrides the problematic explanation that glacial/interglacial intervals are caused by the direct variations of solar insolation on the Earth associated with Milankovitch cycles.

Thank you, NASA 🙂

Gordon Dressler
January 31, 2019 7:40 am

Anyone know how many of the IPCC’s 30-plus, multimillion dollar supercomputer climate models have actually modeled the polar vortex and the related “forcings” that trigger its instabilities?

I think I know the answer, but just asking for evidence to the contrary.

January 31, 2019 8:09 am

Just a theory, but maybe the cold weather in the northern hemisphere right now is due to WINTER?

Reply to  Barbara
January 31, 2019 9:33 pm

Nonsense. Next you’ll try saying that the warm weather we are having here in Australia is due to Summer.

Get the message. It’s all due to Man Made CO2.

We’re doomed.

Even the Canadians.

CJ Fritz
January 31, 2019 9:11 am

In NE Minnesota (from whence I hail) this is not “abnormal” or “unprecedented” territory, it is winter, it is a given that it will be cold, and that it is. However, despite the ballyhoo, and frothing and gnashing of the forecasters (both local, and national) we failed to hit either of the “magic numbers” that they predicted we most likely would.
Magic number 1- -40 degrees (the point at which the C and F scales briefly meet. Some areas of the state did reach this number last night, but those were the areas expected to reach magic number 2 listed below…
Magic number 2- -60 F the record cold temperature for the state.
So, all in all, this is pretty much like the cold snap we got last year, and the year before that, etc…
It is WINTER what do you expect in a cold climate? This is not that much of a rarity here.

January 31, 2019 10:18 am

Where next for the reality lessons?—the UK and Paris I hope.

Ulric Lyons
February 1, 2019 9:20 am

Notice how they have shaded the oceans darker red around the edge of the image to make the Earth look spherical. That’s up to 40°C on the temperature scale.

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